Thirteen pieces of traditional Ethiopian folk art by the artist W.F. Mamo are on display from now until June in the Lobby of Manhattan College’s O’Malley Library. This exhibition, which is open all day, is open to the public and is possible thanks to the generous gift of Arbab Ghatak, who donated nineteen pieces of early twentieth-century traditional Ethiopian folk art to Manhattan College.
Ethiopia has been a Christian country since the fourth century, thus Ethiopian culture is closely tied to Christianity and has a rich and varied tradition of religious art. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, however, European travelers to Ethiopia created an interest in nonreligious art.
The paintings displayed at Manhattan College, which are on cotton duck canvas, depict such scenes and people as Ethiopian royal celebration, the meeting of Queen Makeda of Sheba with King Soloman, simple village life, St. Tekle Haimanot, St. George slaying the dragon, and pilgrims going in reed boats to visit the Ark of the Covenant.
Manhattan College Junior, Abraham Asfaw, provided translation of the Amharic in each of these paintings. His translations supply viewers with the stories contained within the paintings.
A selection of photographs and memorabilia from the Christian Brothers’ mission in Ethiopia will also be on display.
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